Evaluating Web Resources
Not all information is created equal! When deciding if a website is appropriate for use in writing an academic paper, ask yourself the following questions...
Who wrote the page? (Authority)
Is there an author? What are the author’s credentials? Where does he or she work? What is the author’s educational background? If it is an agency author (government site, non-profit organization), is it an agency or organization that is reputable?
Note: Articles on .gov sites do not have authors because the U.S. government holds authorship for all published information on their sites.
Remember anyone can publish information on the WEB!!!
What is the site about? (Coverage)
Does the site cover all aspects of the issue, and how in depth is the coverage? The more aspects of the topic that a site covers, the more likely it is that the information is something that you can trust.
Where did they find the information that is included on the site? (Accuracy)
Does the site include documentation? Are numbers and facts listed but the source of the research or the findings is not referenced? Is the site well written—proper grammar, spelling etc..?
When was the site last updated? (Currency)
When was the information published? When was the page updated? Make sure that the information that you use is up-to-date.
Why does this web page exist? (Objectivity)
Does the author take a position in the work?
Is the information published by a business or company that will benefit from a one-sided presentation of information?
Is the author known to be liberal or conservative, or affiliated with a particular advocacy group?
Does the information sway you toward one belief or one product?
If any of these situations are true it does not mean that the information is automatically inaccurate, for example, the American Lung Association website will encourage you to stop smoking.
Just Be Aware of Bias!!!